Skip to Main Content

(314) 314-5505

person taking off ring

St. Louis Child Visitation Lawyer

The stakes are high in St. Louis child custody and visitation matters. You’re probably fighting for what’s best for your kids, including making sure that they maintain a strong relationship with both parents after the divorce.

At Raza Family Law Solutions, we know what you’re fighting for and we’re here to guide you through protecting your parental rights and prioritizing your children’s happiness. Contact our St. Louis child visitation lawyers today for a consultation.

Types of Child Custody in Missouri

The Missouri courts typically order two types of child custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make major decisions about your child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious practices.

Judges can award you sole legal custody or joint legal custody, where both parents share decision-making authority.

Physical Custody

Physical custody determines where your child will primarily reside and who will provide daily care. Like legal custody, physical custody can be sole or joint.

The child spends significant time with both parents in joint physical custody arrangements, although the exact time division may vary.

It’s important to note that even if one parent is awarded sole physical custody, the other parent is usually granted visitation rights, allowing them to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child.

Factors Considered by Missouri Courts in Child Custody Cases

Missouri courts always prioritize the “best interests” of the child when deciding on child custody and visitation arrangements.

This rule means taking into account various factors, such as:

  • The child’s physical and emotional needs.
  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to care for the child.
  • The child’s relationship with parents, siblings, and extended family members.
  • Parenting plans and proposed custody arrangements.
  • The child’s preference when they are of sufficient age and maturity.
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse.

Missouri family law judges will carefully evaluate these factors to determine the custody arrangement that best serves the child’s overall well-being.

Resolving Child Custody and Visitation Disputes

Ideally, parents can work together to create a parenting plan that meets their child’s needs and fosters a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Mediation and collaborative approaches offer a constructive way to resolve custody and visitation issues without the stress and expense of a court battle.

A skilled mediator can facilitate open communication and help you reach an agreement that works for everyone involved.

Family law litigation

However, litigation may become necessary when parents cannot resolve their disputes through ADR negotiation. In these cases, you must have an experienced child custody lawyer in your corner.

Raza Family Law Solutions gathers supporting evidence, builds a compelling case, and vigorously advocates for your rights in court.

If circumstances change down the road, we can also assist with modifying existing custody and visitation orders to reflect your family’s evolving needs.

Co-Parenting and Visitation Schedules in St. Louis, MO

Research consistently shows that children thrive with a strong, ongoing relationship with both parents.

Even if you and your ex-partner have your differences, it’s essential to prioritize your child’s happiness and work together to create a stable, nurturing environment.

Visitation schedules take many forms, depending on your family’s unique circumstances.

Some typical arrangements include:

  • Alternating weekends and holidays.
  • Mid-week visits.
  • Extended summer vacation time.
  • Special accommodations for long-distance parenting or blended families.

No matter what your visitation schedule looks like, the goal is to ensure that your child has frequent, meaningful contact with both parents.

Child Support and Its Impact on Visitation

Missouri family court judges calculate child support using the income shares model, which considers parents’ incomes and the time each parent spends with the child.

The court may also consider additional factors, such as the child’s specific needs and the parent’s earning capacity.

Wrongful withholding of visitation privileges

It’s important to understand that child support and visitation rights are separate legal issues.

A parent cannot withhold visitation because the other parent fails to pay child support, nor can a parent refuse to pay support because the other denies visitation.

If you’re experiencing child support or visitation issues, Raza Family Law Solutions can help you enforce your rights and protect your child’s best interests.

Working with a St. Louis Child Visitation Lawyer

Understanding complex state child custody and visitation laws can be overwhelming, but you have friends nearby who can help you figure them out.

Working with a skilled family law attorney guarantees that your child’s needs remain at the forefront of the legal process.

Here’s what you can expect when you choose Raza Family Law Solutions.

  1. An initial consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.
  2. A thorough evaluation of your family’s unique circumstances and goals.
  3. Assistance in gathering evidence and preparing a decisive, persuasive case.
  4. Skilled representation in mediation, negotiations, or court proceedings.
  5. Ongoing support and guidance as you navigate co-parenting and visitation issues.

Our family law firm provides personalized service every step of the way.

When the Court Appoints a Guardian ad Litem in Custody Cases

In some child custody cases, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to represent the child’s best interests.

A GAL is an attorney who acts as an independent advocate for the child, conducting investigations and making recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation arrangements.

The GAL’s role is to:

  • Interview the child, parents, and other relevant parties.
  • Observe the child’s interactions with each parent.
  • Gather information from schools, healthcare providers, and other sources.
  • Provide a written report to the court outlining their findings and recommendations.

While the GAL’s opinion carries significant weight, the final decision still rests with the judge.

Raza Family Law Solutions works closely with the GAL to ensure that your visitation rights are represented throughout the legal process.

Preparing for Your Child Custody Hearing

You must be well-prepared if your child custody case goes to trial.

Raza Family Law Solutions gathers proof, identifies witnesses, and develops compelling arguments supporting your desired custody arrangement.

Some key steps in preparing for your hearing include:

  • Organizing documentation, such as parenting plans, communication records, and school reports.
  • Preparing your testimony and anticipating cross-examination.
  • Identifying character witnesses who can attest to your parenting skills and relationship with your child.
  • Practicing your courtroom presentation.

Remember, the court’s primary concern is your child’s best interests.

By presenting a well-organized case, you can demonstrate your commitment to your child’s well-being and increase your chances of securing a favorable outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my ex-partner and I can’t agree on a custody arrangement?

If you and your ex-partner cannot agree, the court will decide based on your child’s best interests. This situation is where having an experienced child custody lawyer in your corner makes a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Can I modify my custody or visitation order if my circumstances change?

YES. If you experience a substantial change in circumstances, such as a job relocation or a change in your child’s needs, you can request a modification of your existing custody or visitation order. Our attorneys can guide you through this process and help you demonstrate why a modification is necessary.

What should I do if my ex-partner is not following our custody agreement?

You must document violations and seek the assistance of a family law attorney when your ex-partner refuses to follow the terms of your custody agreement. We can help you enforce the court order and protect your parental rights.

Your Partner in Securing a Brighter Future for Your Child

Raza Family Law Solutions puts your kids’ happiness as a top priority.

Our experienced family law attorneys work out complex child custody and visitation disputes, ensuring your rights and your child’s best interests are served.

As you embark on this challenging journey, remember that open communication, cooperation, and focus on your child’s needs are key to a successful co-parenting relationship.

With the proper legal guidance and a commitment to putting your child first, you can create a stable, nurturing environment that allows your kids to thrive.

Don’t wait to get the support you need. Schedule a consultation with us today, and let us help you protect what matters most – your children.

Schedule Consultation